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South Park: The Stick of Truth delayed in Germany & Austria due to unremoved swastikas

Wednesday, 5th March 2014 09:12 GMT By Dave Cook

South Park: The Stick of Truth publisher Ubisoft told VG247 last week that the German and Austrian editions of the game would have Nazi swastika symbols edited out, in accordance with both nation’s law. However, an update on the game’s Steam hub suggests this isn’t the case.

It follows my final South Park: The Stick of Truth impressions, our review round-up and Sam’s video of Europe’s deleted scenes.

Responding to a reader tip on the matter, RPS reports that the German Steam page for the title now bears the following message:

“Notice: We’re sorry to inform you that we are unable to deliver your pre-ordered version of South Park: The Stick of Truth on March 6th as initially planned. The German and Austrian version of South Park: The Stick of Truth contains an unconstitutional symbol which means that we are unfortunately not able to release the game on the German and Austrian market at this time.

This concerns all versions/platforms of the game. There is no need to amend or cancel your pre-order. A new release date of South Park: The Stick of Truth for the German and Austrian market will be announced shortly, and we will ensure that your order is delivered to coincide with this new date.

We are extremely sorry for the additional waiting time, and thank you for your understanding.”

The game launches this Friday in the UK and other territories. We’ve contacted Ubisoft for further updates on the matter above.

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10 Comments

  1. Fin

    People who complain about the abortion scene censorship – ye gonna complain about this too?

    #1 6 months ago
  2. The_Red

    @Fin They should complain.
    Any and all forms of censorship are wrong, regardless of the content that’s being censored.
    If it’s ok to censor this but not ok to censor that, then why not abandon rating systems and just get back to old censorship laws (And while we’re at it, we should bring back “The Hays Code” for movies and ban ANY artistic material that might offend ANYONE) (And yes, even the farts, anal probes and swastikas in South Park are artistic material).

    #2 6 months ago
  3. Llewelyn_MT

    @3 You are either not from Europe or a complete idiot not to understand the meaning of the German law regarding totalitarian symbols, especially since they are used in the game as Nazi symbols. Get some basic knowledge and then we can talk.

    #3 6 months ago
  4. ZeGerman1942

    As someone originally from that area, I have to say the law is outdated and just a pain. When I grew up we imported English versions of the game for PC – I remember the german version of Command and Conquer having pixilated black oil instead of pixilated red blood. Games like Commandos and Wolfenstein, clearly involving WW2 were censored in terms of symbols and signs, but were still obviously featuring Nazis.

    The English versions just presented the game how it was meant to be, and the experience was far more enjoyable than playing censored versions.

    Germany and Austria have a Nazi past. It happened and it’s history. Removing the symbols in games is not going to erase it nor will it play into the hands of neo-nazis (“Wiederbetaetigung”) – censorship has been in place for decades and it’s not stopped the right wing parties, particularly in Austria, gaining power. It also has not stopped neo-nazis from getting access to flags and symbols. The internet is full of it, and neither Germany nor Austria are censoring or blocking content in that regard.

    #4 6 months ago
  5. The_Red

    @Llewelyn_MT
    I’m not from Europe (And may be a bit of idiot, who knows?) but I do know about their laws and stance. Since those laws and stances enforce the censorship of such symbols in a work of art (video game)”, they become tools of censorship in this case.

    It doesn’t matter the justification, the law, the context or anything else. When you remove something from a work of art, you are censoring it. Oddly enough, the dictators as well as totalitarian regimes are the biggest supporters of censorship.

    #5 6 months ago
  6. Llewelyn_MT

    @The_Red The censorship is not a universally bad thing as you want to show it. There are things that are and should be censored, like hate speech or child pornography. In Poland, where I live, the use of totalitarian symbols is restricted, but not as much as in Germany. I used to live there for a while and the censorship might feel odd, there is a political consensus it’s for the best. I understand why they want no association with them and it does restrict the neo-nazi movement.

    South Park clearly uses it for comedy purposes, but there is fear of belitteling the very un-funny and dangerous nazi ideology if we see too much of it. The Spanish inquisition is now mainly associated with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, even though it should be remembered otherwise.

    #6 6 months ago
  7. ududy

    @Llewelyn_MT
    It’s the other way round, i’d argue: Monty Python’s sketches only took us further from the inquisition mindset. Censorship takes us closer.

    In Israel Nazi symbols are not banned by law, and i hope they never will be. It is a sign of cultural weakness when laws start telling what’s right or wrong to say and write. Hate speech should be prosecuted, if it constitutes a call for violent action, but no symbols, words or imagery by themselves should be banned from use, or, with the state of the EU what it is today, we may find ourselves imprisoned for drawing Mohammad.

    #7 6 months ago
  8. Llewelyn_MT

    @ududy I’m not referring to the inquisition mindset, just to the actual Holy Inquisition. Very few people today has any association of this term beside the sketch.

    Why do you say hate speech should not be censored, but prosecuted instead? I agree it’s rarely black or white, but in any case it’s allowing it to spread. Art or not, some things should not be allowed.

    #8 6 months ago
  9. stanisl4v

    the thing is, that in germany, video games are not considered as art. therefor, the rules are stricter for video games than for movies (for example). swastikas in movies are not a problem in germany. it still feels like unnecessary censorship though.

    #9 6 months ago
  10. ZeGerman1942

    @Llewelyn_MT The reason people don’t remember the Spanish inquisition much is because it’s a lot further back than WW2. Western society has moved on, largely because (as ududy points out), the topic has been ridiculed, the perpetrators made into a laughing stock. If you watch Monty Python, it is not the inquisition itself which is presented as funny, but it is the people behind it, the cause if you will. What the sketch does is show how ridiculous such a line of thinking is.

    Some things should be censored you say, even in art and entertainment? But who gets to decide what gets censored? Laws are a good thing. Making it illegal to create and distribute child pornography for example, making it illegal to produce and distribute hate speech – those are based on fundamental human rights. Having a blanket ban on symbols (such as is the case in Austria and Germany) does not fall in this category.

    Those people who want to see and use a swastika for example can simply download one. the fact that it is illegal to use is good, but in arts and entertainment there must be some freedom to discuss these topics, and do so without fear of censorship. Making fun of the Nazis is a good thing, like with the inquisition it ridicules those who are narrow minded and hateful. All the censorship law does not is remove an aspect of that.

    The law is not bad in itself and it was set with good intentions after the war. But it does need an overhaul.

    #10 6 months ago

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